Ten funny things about Batman

Adam West as Batman

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These days, Batman is dead serious in Christopher Nolan’s gritty trilogy about Gotham City’s Dark Knight. Why so serious? Because for a long time, Batman was anything but. There were a lot of wacky comic book adventures, the highly campy Adam West TV series from the 1960s, and that Joel Schumacher thing with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze that most of us try to forget. Of course, now that we have the new Academy-Award-winning Batman saga, we can much more easily relax and enjoy the funny side of the Caped Crusader without fearing that it will ruin any chance of getting him taken seriously. Batman, these days, is the epitome of cool, the unstoppable guy, the guy who will always win if he has time to prepare. That makes him fun. So let’s take a look at 10 funny things about Batman, be it classic clips or the things the internet can do to whatever it loves.

1. The Bomb

We have to start with a focus on the Adam West “Batman” from the 1960s. A ridiculously colorful psychedelic bit of wackiness, it featured flashing title cards for punching sound effects, Bat as a prefix for anything from a computer to shark repellant, and a lot of goofball fun with folks like Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. However, the calm rock in the midst of all this was West as the unflappable straight man dressed in the silliest of costumes. As we see here, the comedy was played to the hilt, as Batman finds out that some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.


What? Exactly. If you’ve listened to “Macarron Chacarron” by El Chombo, you’ll know that’s about as close as you can come to putting into writing the weird-ass chorus that sounds either like a guy trying to speak through a mask or the kind of thing that little kids imagine dumb guys blurt at all times. However, when you combine that with the dopey-looking head of Adam West’s Batman doing a weird spastic pseudo-dance, you get the most random bit of unsettlingly consistent hilarity the internet can conjure. It’s hard to say WHY this is funny, and after a minute, you may not think it’s funny anymore, but give it another 30 seconds or so after that point, and it will get hysterical all over again. Let it go for the full 9 minutes, and you’ll be certifiable.

3. Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Recently, after years of the highly-acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series” which paved the way for dramatic animation of all kinds, Warner Bros.’ animation wing decided to hearken back to the more fun and kid-friendly days so exemplified by West’s series, but with a modern spin. Thus, this show ran for three seasons, featuring Diedrich Bader as the voice of Batman, who teams with a revolving door of wild superheroes like Plastic Man, Booster Gold, the fourth-wall-breaking Bat-Mite and the show-stealing boisterousness of Aquaman. What other superhero show would figure out a way to include Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross? Check out this collection of clips from the show’s first season.

4. That Voice

Even in Nolan’s ultra-serious Batman films, there are some things to laugh at – and the most mocked aspect was Christian Bale’s growly Bat-voice. It was subtle enough in “Batman Begins,” but in “The Dark Knight,” he had to give monologues in it, and it just started sounding sort of ridiculous. And that’s what this spoof video is taking great delight in teasing him about, illustrating Batman’s journey towards finding that right voice.

5. The Riddle That’s Too Hard

And in another win from the College Humor crowd, a second spoof video takes the piss out of the mental duel that happens between the enigmatic quizmaster The Riddler and the hyperintelligent Dark Knight Detective, most notably in beloved video games like “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City.” What would happen if there was one time the master of riddles managed to confound the hero?

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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